Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 2 – First Night

Across town, a day, the first day without the Orange Overlord, had passed.  The mood was cautious.  People were suspicious.

“Man, I don’t get it.” Lucius said to Maxwell as they both sat on the step to the row house.  “I mean, how do the cops have the Overlord?  The Overlord Owns the cops.”

“Not without his power suit, he don’t” Max said, taking a pull off the bottle.

“Maybe, but that’s not what the law says.  Don’t you read the papers?  They settled with his ass, what was it, five years ago?  More?  That shit didn’t say anything about a power suit.”

Max handed another bottle to Lucius.  “Didn’t say anything about that potato looking bastard they got at the station house either.  It’s an agreement with the Orange Overlord – in quotes.”

“Oh, so now you’re a lawyer or something?”

“I read the papers.  Actually, I read that shit on my phone.”

“The internet man,” Lucius opened the beer and took a swig.  “Shit’l rot your mind.”

“So, what do you think should happen?  We been paying the tax man.  Tax man gives that shit to the big O.”

“Man, I don’t know.  All I know is I want my money back from that if he’s really in the joint, man.  My baby girl needs that money, not the city, not the state and not some washed up potato-looking jackass.”

“You thinking of doing something young blood?”

Lucius looked off across the street at the amber color of the streetlamp.  “I just might be thinking.” He took a long draw off the bottle.  “Yeah.  I just might.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Are you telling me that the cops surrendered?” Having taken a shower, Rog now walked around the rather spacious living accommodations Donnie had given him.  The track suit looked ridiculous, but it was clean.

Donnie shook his head then winced at the pain.  Holding his face in his hands he said, “It happened six years ago.  How is it you are just finding out about this?”

Rog found an apple in the kitchenette and a knife.  He tossed the apple up in the air and caught it on the tip of the knife with a smile.  “Ah, well you see, me and the past don’t get along so well.  When they checked me out of the Marines they said I had too many concussions, but I don’t think I ever cared about yesterday if it didn’t bother me.”

“But it’s the Orange Overlord.  The supreme ruler of the quad city and the buffer.  The Orange Accords?  ring a bell?”

“Nah.  I think that all happened about the time I was coming back into civilian life.  Not much of that registered.  There’s about a year and a half that all I remember was taking Molly every week.  Guess it helped, but … Anyway, fill me in.”

Donnie rolled his eyes.  “All right.  Hey, can you get me a water?  Top shelf – fridge.”

“Two bucks.”

“We’re giving you this apartment for free and stocking the fridge.”

“Yeah, I know.  Just wanted to see what you’d do.” He opened the fridge.  “Hey!  Beer!”

“Yeah, go easy for right now.  Red’s probably going to call us in sooner than later.”

“And she can say Hi to my buzz.” Rog handed him the water bottle.  “So, again, what do you mean they surrendered?”

“Well, the Orange Overlord came in about ten years ago.  He started big, by killing Captain Courageous.”

“Wasn’t he a fake hero guy, like for the kids?”

“No, but he was a one trick pony.  Slightly more powerful than a normal man, bullet proof, had a club and was really fast.  He mostly did public appearances, though, you’re right.  One day, the Big O just squished him in his force field.  No job, no speech, no nothing.  Just killed the guy.

“Of course, there was an uproar.  Captain Courageous was the hero to a lot of kids in the city and it was like the orange overlord had just outed Santa as an elf pedo.”

Rog smirked at the joke and sat down at the table.  He took a sip of his beer as Donnie continued.

“It went on like that for a while.  The Overlord did senseless crimes.  Always violent.  The Psychics got feedback damage if they tried to touch him that way and his forcefield took care of most things at a distance.  The armor protected him against anything that got close.”

Donnie leaned back and flipped his hands in resignation.  “Finally, the city had enough.  And it wasn’t like there were any more heroes to fight him.  He either hurt them or ignored them, though courageous was the only one he outright killed.  Lots of property damage, though.  Lots of people hurt.  A few people died, but mostly from knock on effects from the super battles.  The Big O mobilized non-powered criminals to hold ground – used gangs against each other to expand his reach.  Any time the cops tried to shut down his guys, he’d show up and smash up the cop cars and lift their guns right out of their holsters.  Anyway, the city had enough.  They negotiated a settlement.  The Orange Accords. Where the Orange Overlord would get a stipend, be able to keep territory and even serve as law enforcement, flipping the gang idea on its head.  In exchange, the municipality would be able to continue.  Property rights were preserved, businesses could function, and things would go on as normal.  Strictly speaking, even the things that were illegal were still illegal, it’s just that the Overlord could selectively enforce – and of course, get a cut.”

Rog pointed at Donnie with the hand holding the beer. “And that right there don’t make no sense.”

“What do you mean?”

“If this orange overlord is actually the guy that owns Flanderal, what the hell does he need the chump change from Drug dens and whore houses?  Seems kinda … smalltime.”

Donnie nodded. “You aren’t seeing the whole picture.  Flanderal is a manufacturing and technology company.  We make phones and weapons.  That’s actually where I came from.  I’m one of Ted’s top product men.  One day I got whisked off here and I’ve been here ever since.”

“Didn’t nobody notice you gone?”

Donnie rolled his eyes.  “Look at me.  You think girls were lining up to date me?  After my Mom died, work was all I had.  Erasing me from existence was trivial for Red.  She’s really good at that kind of thing.”

“Yeah, and I bet she could suck a golf ball through a garden hose with those pulled in cheeks and Jagger lips.”

“I, uh… I wouldn’t talk to Red like that.”

“Well no shit.  She’s a dame.  You don’t talk to dames like that.”

“That’s not it.  She’s the Orange overlord’s right hand.  Beyond Ted there was no one else who existed in both Flanderal and in the Orange Overlord realm as much as Red.  She’s no joke and will disappear you forever.”

“So, not worth the chance of a blow job, eh?”

Donnie smirked.  “I warn you and you are an adult.”

“Yeah… ”

The conversation hit a lull and they both drank from their bottles.

“So, what happens now?”

“Now?” Donnie said, getting up.  “Now I’m going back to my apartment – just up the hall – I’m going to eat a lasagna, take some of the doctor’s miracle ‘don’t have a stroke’ pills and go to sleep unless Red pulls us all in for a late night.”

“Miracle pills?”

“Yeah.  It’s Doctor Lorenzo, the mad scientist?  Remember him?”

“You know, I think that’s where the VA got the idea for all the Molly I took.  You got him on staff?”

“Yeah.  The Orange Overlord took a few hits in his rise to power. He captured Lorenzo from the Matrix Masters and put him to work here fixing his body.  You’ll catch up with him eventually.”

“Yeah ok.  So, this is like evil genius summer camp or something?  Everybody got a room?”

“Yep.  And it’s more like a hotel.  The only reason we’re all here is because the shit has it the fan.  I had them leave you some food, by the way.  Pulled pork.  Hope you aren’t Muslim.”

“Nah, ain’t got time for that God stuff.”

“Because you are clearly a man of pursuits.”

Rog leaned back in his chair.  “I peruse cold beer, hot women and sticky buds.  The occasional pulled pork kinda slides right in there, though, thanks.”

“You’re welcome.  If we live so long, we can work up some buds too.”

“Really?”

“Yeah,” he said pulling the door open. “Who do you think distributes the shit?  The Orange Overlord literally employs every drug dealer and gang banger in the Quad cities.”

“Well that is a hookup!  But what happens now that he’s out of the picture?”

“I have a feeling Red will address that tomorrow.  Get some sleep.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

In Barkley, the smallest of the quad cities, young men gathered to discuss business.

“Gentlemen,” The one in front said, “I believe it is time to consider the current situation.”

Across the table another man, nowhere near as well dressed spoke up.  “What do you have going on Trevor?”

“Nothing short of a war.  You boys ready to go to war?”

They all looked at each other.  “Not really.  Who do we have a beef with? We’ve kept our territory.  The Makos are running the girls.  We’re running the protection.  The Snakes are running the drugs.  It’s all good.”

“Yeah, but think.  Why are the Snakes running the drugs?  Why can’t we?  Why can’t we run the girls, make the books, supply the knockoffs and the tax free smokes?  Why aren’t we doing payday loans?”

Finally, from down the table someone said, “I see where you are going Trevor.  The answer is because the Orange Overlord would kick our asses, but the Overlord ain’t here no more.  That’s a good argument, but it still doesn’t mean we can just roll up on the Snakes or the Crimsons and take their shit.”

“Why not?  Because, gentlemen, whether you think we should or not, one of those fuckers will get the bright idea of trampling on turf that isn’t theirs.  They will trample, and it might be our turf they turn to first, or next.”

“So?  The one thing we’ve got is muscle.  They come at us, we kick some ass.”

“Unless,” Trevor smiled, raising a finger.  “Unless we kick some ass first.  Strike at the time of our choosing, rather than reacting.  Gentlemen, it’s a whole new era here in the quad cities.  If we want to keep our corner of it, we will have to vertically integrate, which means some suckers will either be getting on the train or getting run over by it.”

Trevor looked out at the dozen young men, their pasty faces frightened, then cowed and now congealing into determined and nasty.  When the time ripened, he continued.  “Ok, so here’s what we’re going to do.”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 3 – Off on a Jog

[Author’s note: Day 2 and things are already squirming out of the box.  Lucius, Max, Trevor or any of the hangers on didn’t exist two hours ago, but they are here now!  I think this bit went a little better than yesterday, but this might be kinda hard to keep up all month.  We’ll see.  I’m already seeing continuity screw ups I’ll have to spackle over later.  Oh well.  FIRST DRAFT!!!! W00t!

Hope you are enjoying the ride and if you are, votes on top web fiction, likes and follows are soothing to the soul.  Hm.  That got personal, didn’t it?  Oh well, these words don’t count so stay weird and stay tuned.

-SC]

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 1 – When You Gotta Go

[Author’s note: I’m taking a risk here by putting out an unedited block of the story.  Not only does it mis-hit more than a few jokes that could have gotten more lead-in (the dry eye thing in particular didn’t work at the first draft), but there’s the idea of ruining the story for the reader.  But, I highly doubt anyone gives a shit, will give a shit, will want to pay for this, publish it or anything else, so here’s the story as it’s being written.  If nothing else, it is an example of how I do a vomit draft and can serve as an example for other people doing vomit drafts that their stuff isn’t any worse than anyone else’s.  And I didn’t edit that last sentence either.

Hope you find this fun.  I’ll be posting through november and hopefully this manuscript will eventually be edited to be a real book.  Or not.  Tomorrow never knows.

Stay Weird

-SC]

Rog’s head hurt.  For a moment he was concerned that he couldn’t see.  Then he was absolutely concerned that he could not move.

“Mph Fwrk” he said through lips held closed by some mysterious source.  Through a wall or something he could hear voices.

“Is he awake?”

“It’s really hard to tell, Red.  His thoughts are…”

“What?”

“Well they are just kind of stupid.  I think he’s awake.  He’s concerned about the spell, but the framework of his concern seems…”

“Whatever, he’s awake.”  The Woman opened the door as she spoke, striding into the brightening room.  “Good morning.”  The woman’s smile was just for show.  Rog smelled trouble.

“Mwrph” he said back.  Rog realized he was lying on a cot.  His eyes were, in fact open, and he could see fine.  What he still couldn’t do was move.

“Can you loosen up the spell on his mouth.  I’d like to talk to our guest.”

Rog’s mouth popped open and he gasped.  “Ahhh.  You know, it’s a good thing that it’s fall and not spring, boy.  I get terrible hay fever.”

The redheaded woman looked back to the person at the door, who Rog couldn’t see, and then back.  “And this is a concern to me… why?”

“That trick with my mouth.  If I was hella congested, you might have killed me or something.”

The redhead looked at him, puzzled.  “You are here, immobile, and after how you got here you are … I … hm…”  The woman walked back to the door and closed it.  The lights went out again.

Rog could hear rustling in the hall and some voices, but they stayed quiet.

“Hey!  Hey!  I gotta pee.  Hey!”  He yelled.  After no one responded he said.  “Ah.  Never mind.  Just bring a sponge or something.”  Again nothing.

He’d started to think about taking a nap when the door opened again, and the light came on.

“Dude.  He’s been immobile all this time?”  It was Donnie’s voice.  At least he thought it was Donnie’s He hadn’t been in good shape the only time he saw the guy so it’s hard to tell.

“You know I can hear you, right?”

“Oh hey!  Yeah.”

Donnie and the Redhead came to where he could just see them.  “You know Donnie, I don’t see why we’re even bothering.”

“You’re bothering because boy are you guys in trouble!  And it’s getting worse by the minute!”

They both looked at him.  Donnie with a puzzle and Red with a smirk.  “How do you figure?” She asked.

“Well for one thing, I got the meter on.  Limo ain’t cheap and while I was helping your boy here get to his meeting I was on the clock.  Totally legit.  Like waiting on a fare, you know?”

“No, I’m not… ”

“Yeah, and I figure I been out for at least an hour…”

“Better part of a day, really,” Donnie said.

“A day!  Oh boy.  You guys screwed it.  After 12 hours I’m double time!  Keeps people from using short term limos as their own personal drivers, you know.  We got rules about this shit and I’m union!  You don’t fuck with the union.”  He looked at them, then tried unsuccessfully to blink.  “you guys are screwed.”

Red looked at the man as if addressing a child.  “Ok look, as fascinating as this is, Donnie, please tell me why this guy isn’t going down the memory hole?”

Donnie fiddled with his hands.  “Well, I feel like I kinda owe him.  He kept me from getting seriously hurt.”

“Yeah.  And about that.  What are you doing, going off like that?”

He shrugged.  I wanted to play pool.  Guess I was too good for those guys.”

Red scrunched her face.  “We will buy a pool table.  We have some considerable problems now and we can’t have people going off.  At the very least you should have had some muscle with you.  It’s a good thing we have a tracker for you.”

“One of *my* trackers.  Yeah.” Donnie said, a little defensively.

“You guys know I’m right here.  And my eyes are really fucking uncomfortable.  I would really like to blink now.”

To the door she said, “Hey, you can let him have his head.”

“Argh!” Rog closed his eyes and it was like sandpaper.  “My eyes … feel … like a Dead show.  Visine!”

Red rolled her eyes.  “So, this is some kind of blood debit, Donnie?”

“You make that sound dumb. I just feel like I owe him is all.  Doc said I’d be dead if I hadn’t gotten to him, much less taken a few more hits.”

“Well I’m stuck with him now.” Red sighed.  “This day just … ugh.”

“Does this mean you gonna pay my fare?”

“I think so?” Donnie questioned, looking at Red.

Red turned, her long straight hair flying with the twist.  “Well, about that.  You see… you know that nice lady that dispatched you and gave you the tracker?”

“Nice lady?  Gladys is the biggest bitch I’ve ever met!”

“Well she’s had an accident.  Ran off the freeway and into a pole.  Terribly sad.  Freak mechanical failure.”

“No shit.  Well that boyfriend of hers was a mechanic.  Kept tinkering with the cars around the shop.  Probably fucked that up.  I wonder if he feels bad or relieved?”

“Hm.  Well yeah.  And you know Mr. Randal, the owner of your limo company?  Yeah, his house had a fire.  I’m afraid he died of asphyxiation. Another… accident.”  She drew out that last word, sounding ominous.

“Yeah, well, he always was a cheap ass.  Probably didn’t change the smoke detector batteries when you fall back like they say you should.  He was a cheap ass like that.”  Rog hung his head. “Little sad though.  How’s the dog?”

“Dog?”

“He had a dog.  One of those yappy little things don’t like nobody but his owner.”

“I … ” She squinted at Rog.  “Exactly how dumb are you?”

He flinched, screwed up his face and then looked around.  “On what scale?”

“I’m sorry?”

“What’s the scale?  I mean, there’s Einstein on one end and a rock on the other.  We going metric here or what?”

The redhead shut her eyes and shook her head.  “Just… Shut up.”

“Ok, but you’re getting my fare, right?”

“Donnie.  He’s your puppy.  Get him a room and get him out of my way.  We’re in lockdown until we know what’s going on with Ted.”  She stormed out of the room.

The two men looked at each other.  “You look like shit.” Rog said.

Donnie looked down and then up.  “And you look like you pissed yourself.”

“Hey, I told them I had to go.”

“Yeah, whatever.  Come on.  Can you walk?”

Rog sniffed, gave a cocky grin and said “Yep” as he stood up and promptly fell on his face like a sack of loosely tied sausages.

“Oh geez!” Donnie said, moving to help him up.  He winced as he started to bend over and felt his head.  “Uh.  the doctor said I’m not supposed to bend over or do anything strenuous.  And helping you up is both.”  He looked at Rog trying to move.  The sloppy, sliding motions had no power behind them and he flopped, ragdoll like on the linoleum.

“Yeah, well, I thought this might be comfortable for a while.”

“There must be some residual paralysis from the spell or some toxin left from the darts.  Or maybe you just have your extremities asleep from not moving in so long.  If so you should start to feel the pins and needles in…”

“AAAAAarrrrgggggh!!!!”

“I guess about now.  Try to move around.”

“What?  Screw you pall!” Rog laid out on the floor and tried to hover, spread eagle.

“No, it will help.  I think.  That’s what I always do when my hands or legs fall asleep.”

“What so this shit happens to you often?”

“Well, I spend a lot of time in the lab not moving much so… yeah.”

Rog moved his thick, stumpy legs to lift his knees and threw his right hand onto his chest.  “RRRRRrrg  That’s kinda pathetic, dude!”

“Well, it’s a lifestyle choice.  Not all of us are the physical type!” Donnie put his fists on his fat hips. “I’m an intellectual!”

“Yeah, I can see that.”

“You know,” Donnie said in a high-pitched lilt. “I’m tempted to tell Red that she was right and that blood debits are kind of for pussies.”

“AAaaaarr.  Dude, don’t be a baby.” Rog managed to flop over, which made the wet spot on his pants all the more apparent.  “And what was she talking about with a lockdown?”

“Well, you heard all about our problems with our boss?”

“Yeah.  Orange overlord.  Meanest of the mean.  Got it.”

“Well you don’t got it.  We run Flanderal industries.  Ted’s company.  His legitimate company.”

“Your right.  I don’t got it.  The guy that owns Flanderal’s got to have serious bank.  Why is he fucking around being the Orange Overlord?”

“Well it’s complicated, but there are synergies between the two organizations.”

“Organizations?” Rog could finally start to sit up.  “What organization.  The Orange Overlord was just one guy.”

“One guy that controls territory.  you can’t hold turf without boots.  It’s impossible to be that powerful.  You simply can’t be everywhere.  There is a structure and the Orange overlord is at the top.”  Donnie got sad and looked to the side.  “Or at least he was.  And none of us are quite sure what’s going to happen now.”

“So.  Question time… Why aren’t the feds on your ass right now?”

Donnie smiled.  “There are a lot of layers to the ownership of things.  Ted was clearly the majority stockholder, but that could have just been coincidence.  Everything is highly compartmentalized.”

“Like a terrorist organization.”

“More like an army.  Don’t confuse criminal with sloppy.”

“All right.  Fine.” Rog got up on one knee and one hand and hoisted himself up on wobbly legs.  “Great.  So, you’re organized.  You still worked for a bad guy.”

Donnie looked up at him.  “Well, so did you.”

“Excuse me?” Rog squinted.

“Atlas limo.  A wholly owned subsidiary of Trinary transportation, which is owned by Confed delivery which is owned through an offshore shell company by Flandearal.  You work for the orange overlord.”

Rog smirked.  “Worked, you mean.”

“Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire?'”

As they left the room, Rog said, “Nah.  I don’t cook much.”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 2 – First Night

 

Minions – Another Prologue – And This is Where it Started to Get Weird

With the guy, Donnie, Roj had to correct himself, his name was Donnie, still over his shoulder Roj limped into the room.  The guy weighed a ton and based upon the squishy feel of his torso it wasn’t from lifting weights.  Roj slit the man clumsily into the nearest seat and his hand reflexively scooting to the circle in front of him lit his chair.

Roj stepped back a pace.  He was amazed that the guy could still move.  A beating like that should have left him leveled for a good couple hours if not longer, but in his experience he knew that was a rule of thumb.  No one could ever tell what a beating would do to a guy.

From the head of what he could see was an oval table, an alto voice broke through.  “Ah good.  Hi Donnie.  Glad you could fit us into your schedule.”

“Had to…” he swallowed.  “Had to drop by the lab first.”

The woman, red hair now blazing in the overlight at her position made the sound of a frown.  “You were to come here immediately.  Did you not get the message?”

The man raised his head with a drunken sway.  “No.  Broke in the fight.”

Around the table the half dozen or so other people Roj could see made little scoffing noises.  He knew better.  Donnie is lucky to be here at all.

“Ah…  Well I really didn’t think you needed the combat version, but I guess I’ll have to reasess.  Seems the time for that anyway.”  She stood and stepped around her chair.  The front of the room lit up as she moved, revealing wall screens.  “It’s good that we’re all here because we have some work to do.  You see, the Orange Overlord has fallen.  More specifically, he is in the custody of our local police force.”

Where there had been scoffs, there was now the non-sound of tension.  The red head hit a button on a remote and the screens lit up.  News reports and video from multiple sources appeared on the monitors.  A fight between the Orange Overlord and Commander Pain played on all screens.  “This is what I believe happened.  Ted took a date – Marcy, I think – to ‘La Province’ and somewhere while there he found he needed to power up and fight his way out.  Commander Pain has been making his plays for the city ever since the Heroes gave up and worked out the Orange Accords  to grant the Overlord dominion over a huge swath of territory in exchange for peace.  Apparently he made his latest play at Ted himself, though how he knew Ted Cal was the Orange Overlord is anyone’s guess.”

“This is very disturbing,” A man in a robe said.

The older, bookish woman next to him added, “And expensive.  This is going to kill Blazon industries.  When people hear that the majority stock holder of Blazon is the Orange Overlord…”

“Yes.  And that’s what we need to figure out.  Ted’s in jail right now.  What are we going to do to help him?”

She looked around at the faces at the table.  No one said a thing.  Aside from the man in the robe and the librarian lady, there was Donnie, a big muscular guy in a polo and a little sprightly guy.  None of them said anything.

“Well what the fuck is he doing in jail?”  Roj said.  He couldn’t help himself, really.  The silence was just creeping him out and he just hated that.

Everyone in the room looked at Donnie, who swayed, turned green and dry-heaved between his splayed knees.  Nothing came out.  He’d left it all in the back of Roj’s car.

“Who is that?  Donnie?  Who have you brought here?”

“Dude didn’t bring anyone.  I had to drag his ass here from the car, past his pigsty of a lab and here.  Ain’t no other way he was going to make it.” Roj was greeted by more silence so he added, “Dude took a pool cue to the head.”

“And you are?”  The redhead asked.

Roj started to look around in the shadows to try to find the door he’d come in.  Something didn’t seem cool all of a sudden.  “Me?  I’m Roj.  I had to go pick up your boy here using some kinda compass thingie.  Executech dispatcher gave it to me and said to make sure the guy got here.”  He motioned to Donnie.  “Here he is.  You know…  I figured he’d be leaving as soon as you realized his brains are scrambled, so I hung around.”

The redhead’s smiled with her mouth but not her eyes.  “How very industrious of you.  Tell me, Roj,” she said his name as if it were a joke.  “How much of what was discussed here did you hear?”

He scoffed.  “Look lady, I’ve been driving limo’s for five years now and I just never hear anything anymore, know what I mean?”  He smiled and looked around the room.  No one could see the smirk on his face.  He was still in shadow.

“How much?”  Her tone was cold and humorless.

Swallowing hard, Roj said, “Um… Just about everything, but really, I don’t say shit to nobody.  I mean, who the hell am I going to tell, amiright?”

“That is a very good question, Roj.”

“I’m pretty sure I was speaking hypothetically.  That’s … I mean sometimes I … people misunderstand.  I meant to say I can keep a secret.”

“And I am very good at ensuring people keep secrets, Roj.”  The Redhead pulled out a large white plastic gun from her hip holster and aimed it at Roj.  Darts the size of toothpicks slammed into his chest, sticking in and then melting into his punctured flesh.

“Ha.  Ah!  Oh.  Oh good I thought you were … we … I … park … shirt …” Roj hit the floor thinking unhappy thoughts about punching a woman.

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 1 – When You Gotta Go

[Author’s note: I wrote today, the first day of National Novel Writing Month, but this is not what I wrote.  What I wrote will be the next posting.  Be forewarned.  This is a rough draft, even rougher than this, which is pretty rough.

Stay Weird

-SC]

Minions – Prologue – Yeah, So Here’s Where It All Started

A door flew open with a metallic clang as a man crashed through it.  He landed with a meaty thud and the scrape of dirt across old asphalt.

He scrambled to gain his feet, to get away from the door but only find the line of parked cars offering their bumpers.  Gasping for breath, he climbed one.  He only got as far as the trunk.

“Ya fuck.  Ya really think ya cheat me? At ma own place?” The big man pushed his victim’s face into the body work, then spun him back arched across the newly dented trunk.  Face full of new blood.

A right hook sent that blood flying across the alley parking lot.  The big man reveled in sadistic righteousness that extended to the two other men who had come to join him.  The victim’s face was out of expression, having spent it all on the fright that had been punched away.  The sadist pulled his arm back, a wicked grin of anticipation on his face for the next bow.

“You know, I wouldn’t hit him again.” The voice was deep and light coming from deep in the alley.  “Any more punishment and he’ll have brain damage, like you guys.  Can’t have that.”

“Ya?  And who the fuck ‘re ya?”

The man stepped into the light, confidently advancing on the scene.  Broad but not tall.  White shirt and black pants.  He took in half a hotdog into his mouth in a single bite and then said around it, “I’m his fucking mom.”  He swallowed.  “We’re late for soccer practice and the pudgy fuck needs to burn off some fucking mallomars.”

He took another huge bite and threw the rest into a convertible.  Chewing with his mouth open, he unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis.  Crumbs and flecks of meat dribbled down his shirt as he thrust his hips, letting his dick flap.

“Get him.” The big man said to his companions.

The now half naked man smiled at them pushing food through his teeth.  They looked at each other and backed away, shaking their heads.

“How about you? The man said through his food. “Wanna play?”

The big man threw the now barely conscious man to the ground and walked back through the door.  “Crazy Fuck.  Whatever, have him. Never come back.”

Stars descended on the man.  He stumbled to stay up on one hand while the other grabbed his nose. A thin orange line in a circle appeared were the blood ran through his palm.  The crunch of boots rose over the singing stars.

“So.  I am hoping that you are Donnie.”

The man nodded, trying to keep a hold on his nose and consciousness.

“Good.  We should get going.  That trick only works so well and I’m out of hot dogs.”  The man zipped his pants up as he walked back into the alley. A fob to turned on the lights of a car.  “You can walk, right?”

The injured man nodded and then fell to his knees shaking his head.

“Damn.”  The broad man went back to help the injured man up and helped him limp his way to the car.  “Must have taken a few licks inside.  What cha do, anyways?  No offense but you don’t seem like the bar fight type.”

“Thought I was cheating … pool.”  He walked a pace and then threw up on the ground.  They walked through it.

“Whatever.  Good thing I got this urgent call, then, or I’d be picking up at the morgue.  Come on.  Car’s just up ahead.”

Minions – Another Prologue – And This is Where it Started to Get Weird

[Author’s note:  This is the project for NaNoWriMo 2017.  I’m posting my words as I go so I don’t just write nonsense or political rants or porn.  These first two are prologues and they do not count towards the word count.  While not great, I have polished them a little.  Everything else, not so much.  I’m going to try to get the nonsense out of the draft before posting but no promises.  Hopefully there is enough story there to get me to 50K words.  If not… porn it is!

Stay weird

-SC]

Las Vegas, a Loon and “Too Soon?”

Ok, so someone shot up a country music festival in Vegas.  I’m horrified but not surprised.  We as a country care less about a person’s access to mental health treatment than their access to guns.  The end result isn’t surprising anymore, but it is horrifying.  As a result of that horror, a clamor is already up about gun control, with the predictable anti-gun control people clamoring back.  They say, It’s too soon.  Well, It’s not too soon, it’s overdue from the last fucking time we had a thing like this.

Getting out in front of the Right Wing parade, we’ve heard Bill O’Rilley issue what is essentially a shrug in a long form text format.  “The Second Amendment is clear that Americans have a right to arm themselves for protection. Even the loons.”  Here’s something I learned about Bill O’Rilley a long time ago.  He shot off his mouth about something – doesn’t even matter what it was and I can’t remember at this point – and was wrong and called on it.  His response to that was essentially, “Oh that?  Yeah, I was just bloviating.”  I’ve got a fairly extensive vocabulary but I’d never heard the word “bloviating” before.  So, I looked it up.  It basically means going on like a pompous asshole with very little meaning but lots of self-serving words.  From this I learned that in Bill O’Rilley’s world it’s perfectly fine to be completely and unambiguously wrong as long as you are an asshole while doing it.  O’Rilley is not a dumb guy and he knows he’s wrong here.  But that’s ok, because he’s also being an asshole.

The second amendment says nothing about self-defense.   The second amendment says precisely this: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Clear as fucking mud, eh?  One can interpret that a few ways.  My favorite is that it means everyone has a right to join the Army.  Even gays.  Everything in that text talks about the security of the state, not the person.  In fact, that’s exactly how it was interpreted until 2008 when the Supreme Court in a 5/4 decision (Heller) decided that it meant a right to self-defense even though that wasn’t anywhere in the text.  Scalia, the “originalist” and “constitutional conservative” did this bit of mental gymnastics, by the way.  This is not some hallowed right passed down from father to son and ingrained in the American experience, it is something that is as old as some of my favorite tee shirts.  And at any rate, it also says that shit should be well regulated.  ALSO the firearms that the founding fathers had any experience with were packed with a ramrod.  Sure, you can have one of those, right next to your sharp stick and all those extra commas that make the second amendment so hard to puzzle out.

Getting back to the topic at hand, it’s not too early to talk about gun control, it’s too late.  As of this writing it’s currently too late for 58 country music fans in Las Vegas and anyone who loved them.  And anyway, this happens with such frequency and morbid regularity that it’s a topic that is evergreen.  It’s always time to talk about gun control because even if it’s not in the news now, if you wait a few months it will be.

Mass murder is not the price of freedom.  The founding fathers did not write a document that granted us the right to murder each other with machine guns.  In fact, they were against a standing army because they feared a destabilizing military coup more than anything else and wanted to make sure people who were in state militias didn’t have their military guns taken away from them.  It’s a bizarre anachronism that really has more to do with post-revolutionary America than the America of today.

We’ve already seen an example of an amendment which was repealed because the distortions upon the American society became too great to bear.  The Eighteenth Amendment ushered in the prohibition of alcohol and unleashed violence and lawlessness in America.  Now to be fair, alcoholism was a huge problem back then and they felt something had to be done, but the Eighteenth Amendment and it’s laws didn’t take reality into account. Moonshiners, Rumrunners, and Gangsters, all universally armed, plied a now-illegal trade all because a magnified minority wanted the entire US to be dry.  The twenty-first amendment repealed that mistake because things in the streets went completely crazy.  Things in the street are now completely crazy.  Just because it’s in the constitution doesn’t mean it’s a great idea or should be encouraged.

We are a self governing democracy.  We the people CAN say that enough is enough and demand change.  We don’t have to just shrug.  And nothing about the arsenal the loser in Las Vegas shot at those people was “well regulated.”  We should be horrified and we should talk about gun control now or we should not be surprised when a slaughter like this happens again.

Stay Weird and Remember to duck.

-SC

Assassins, Assholes, and Alexandria

An angry nobody shot at politicians practicing baseball yesterday.  This man doubtlessly thought of himself as many things.  A patriot maybe?  A freedom fighter? Vengeful spirit?  An Assassin?  Someone dedicated and willing to go to the lengths no one else will go because he’s just that macho, like the Punisher or Rambo? We won’t know for sure because he was shot to death for being what he was in reality – an Asshole – an angry nobody – a weak man who picked up a gun – a footnote.

There are people who are barking “EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES” and “BUT he argued for…” and “But the policies…” and “The Tree of liberty should be watered!” and all that.  Those people should be ashamed of themselves.  Condoning, inciting, excusing, or carrying out political violence is an asshole and is profoundly unamerican.  The crowd that proudly displayed “we came unarmed this time” were assholes.  Anyone talking about “second amendment solutions” is an asshole.

There are no exceptions.  Political violence is inexcusable.  It’s the fallback of someone who is so weak of mind that they are unable to argue and work to further their cause.  OR it is the work of a demented and violent mind that has been armed and pointed in a direction by people who should know better and are, as has been alluded to earlier, assholes.

screamingcandle.com is not a blog in which I nakedly blow out my own personal politics because it’s supposed to be a showcase for my own hackneyed fiction.  I sincerely hope that Steve Scalise will survive this, though I hold no hope that he will be “OK”.  I’m a Democrat and though I have political sympathies with people all over the political spectrum – yes, even Republicans – Steve Scalise viewpoints and my own have very little common ground.  BUT the man is a public servant, a patriot and was elected by my fellow citizens in Louisiana to represent them.  I disagree with the man with a burning passion but what happened to him is deplorable.  It goes beyond politics.  The man was shot in the pelvis with an M4.  This is conjecture, but that can’t be good for your dick.  Or, your ability to walk, but … priorities.

I should not make light.  This is not a good time for this country.  We need engaged citizens, not assholes.  And I call them assholes, not murderers or thugs or anything else because these weak, traitorous cowards do not deserve so aggrandizing as a label that makes them sound tough.  There is nothing tough about harming a fellow citizen when their defenses are down and they are speaking their mind.  A slap, a punch or a gunshot.  All of these makes for an asshole.  So again, we need engaged citizens to patriotically denounce and continue to denounce this dehumanization and violent rhetoric in our public discourse.  It is unamerican and it diminishes the light of hope that this country provides the world.

Use your words.

Don’t be an asshole.

Sincerely,

Patrick Lewis

AKA: Screaming Candle

The Strange – Episode 17 – The Job and the Work – Part 2

Edwin’s stomach flopped as the cab, lacking a trailer, hit the curb that separated the parking lot from the road with a little too much speed.

“Hey G!  Easy on the gas!  Thing’s going to bail over.”

Guillermo smiled.  “Nah.  Tractors are super powerful and high, but the center of gravity is down near the transmission, between the wheels.  If it wasn’t. the whole thing would drive all screwy when the trailer is attached, because that is higher.  We’re actually less likely to have problems without a load.”

“Not with you driving.”

“Relax.  We’re here.”

Up ahead, the two men could see a crew of four men getting out of a similar truck to theirs hauling a plain white trailer.  The only interesting thing about the trailer was two orange contraptions, stuck underneath that looked like two bundles of spare tires, but with a clamp that extended around to the sides of the trailer.  Those men were on the left side of another truck in the parking lot and Guillermo was coming in to park on that truck’s right.

“This is the one.  So remember, we got eyes on all corners except yours.  From your 12 to your 5-ish is pretty much blind to everyone working on the jacks.  You see anything, use the channel.  You’ll hear us working on the trailer but if anything turns south, the first you’ll hear of it is when I come up and get in the truck to haul ass.  But hey, that’s not happening.  Just keep looking out and relax.”

“I’m always relaxed.”

“didn’t you just say doing Loveless’s jobs creeped you out.”

“Well they do, but I’m relaxed about it.  Just… hurry up.”

A minute after Guillermo disappeared, Edwin could hear the Hydro’s lifting the trailer, the squeak of it coming free from its attachment on the other truck and the whine of the lift’s electric motors.   Nothing came into the field of view even though the road ran right through it.  A cop could have easily come by in the few minutes it took the guys working as a big-rig pit crew to do their thing, but none did.  A bystander, a hitch hiker, a family wagon lost on its way to vacation in Orlando, anyone could come by.  But they didn’t.  All completely clear.  Nothing but trash trees and humidity as far as the eye could see.

“And how is this not creepy?” Edwin said to himself as he felt the trailer thunk into place behind him.  His heart skipped a beat as Guillermo opened the other door and climbed into the cab.

“Ok, now we wait.”

“What?”

“We’re covering the right side while they transfer the trailer.”

“Well what about the other side.  Won’t they see this from the diner?”

“Nah.  You didn’t see it, but we parked another truck on the other side.  This bit was the hard part.  And anyway, someone would have to be super observant to even notice us out here doing anything.  You worry too much.”

“Yeah.  Jerry wouldn’t have us doing this.  He’d have us smashing faces.  I really miss that.”

“You aren’t thinking of quitting, are you?  Because if you want to be on shit duty for Loveless, that’s how you get it.”

“And that’s freaking creepy.  How does he know what I’m thinking?”  Edwin talked with his hands while continuing to comb his area of responsibility.  “But no.  I’m not disloyal.  I just wish this made sense to me.  A punch in the face, that makes sense even if the face is mine.  The fact that Loveless knew no one would be on these roads?  That shit makes no sense.  And it’s creepy.”  He sighed.  “You know, I almost wish someone would notice this, so I’d have someone to punch.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Yeah.  Hey, what are those guys doing out there?”  From inside the diner, the young Chronicler eyed the scene in the parking lot.  Agreed, it looked from here like just four generic-looking trucks lined up in a corner of the lot with only three boxes among them, but he knew that the trucker with the bad stomach had come out of one of them.  Now he saw some people hanging about the back of it.

“Hm… don’t know… Looks like they are transferring that trailer.”

“Doesn’t that seem… Odd?  I mean, like … I don’t know … it almost looks like they are stealing it.”

“It’s the south, lots of things are odd.  This isn’t Miami, Junior, it’s more like Georgia here.  And it’s not something of the wind though so fuck it.”

He took a last look at the collection of trucks as the one farthest from them started to pull away. “Consider it fucked.  And on the topic of wind, any sign of Weathermen?”

“Not a damned word.  I always had my doubts and I’m horrified to be proven right.  I fear they could not stand and mount a defense for so long. Not without something to stand against.”

“Well, it’s not like they were ever needed before.  Lots of history before the thirties. People got by.”

“Yeah, but not without losses.  The plague, the flood, the war.  When this stuff gets going and the wind becomes a hurricane the world ends and a new one is born.  It’s never quite the same.  And this time, we’ve got nuclear weapons and super science!”

The younger man grimaced, his blandly handsome face creased in worry. “You really think it will be that bad?”

“That pulse was a doozie.  Like a Riley-sized doozie.”  The older man blew out, scratching his head. “If that gets going, it will be a race to the finish.  Some idiot will crack the planet and all those who thought we were too stupid to live will be proven right.”

“And you need me to write it down?”

“Well… That and try to figure out how to keep shit under control.” He waved his hand to dismiss protest. “No.  Don’t think you’re saving the world, but look, there is always a group.  Some group.  There are always groups.  People group together.  But there will be one that is important.  Find them.  Help them.  Befriend them if they aren’t assholes because lord knows you need to socialize more.”

“I socialize plenty”

“Grinder is not socializing.  You are young enough for that shit not to turn sour yet, but it will.  Just because you can one night stand it doesn’t mean you are having relationships.”

“I know that.  I … just fuck you. ”

He smiled.  “Whatever, Romeo. Anyway, they will be flailing around. Find those guys.  That’s the story anyway so do that.  Be part of the story.”

“And that’s what you did?  When Kesey and Owsley poked a hole in the world?”

His eyes drifted and a grin snuck into the corners of his mouth.  “You bet.  Lots of fun too.  Girls like you’d never seen.  But that was a different sort of incursion.  This isn’t the id poking out, this is power.  More like the 30’s than the late 60’s.  That was just a blip.”

“And the other was a war.”

“End of the fucking world. Gone was the Edwardian gentlemen and in came the mechanized cold warriors.  God only knows what’s coming next.”

The young man stared at the back of the truck trailer, slowly moving sideways in-between too other trailers.  The silence settled into the table as the older man nursed his coffee.

“Ok.  I’ll take it,” the young Chronicler said.  “And I’ll take ownership of your books.”

“Good because they are already in your van”

“Van?”

“Yeah.  I’m giving you the bus.  It’s parked right outside.”

The young man had, seen and heard the old, pale-blue-and rust colored VW Van when it parked and hadn’t given it much thought.  He thought about it now. “The… That relic. What the fuck am I supposed to do with a bus?”

“Drive it.” He slammed the keys down on the table with a flourish.  “Look, it’s a functional vehicle and even someone as … effete as you could rebuild that thing out of a book…  which, by the way, is one of the books that is in the back of the thing, along with all my stuff.”

“Well, what am I supposed to do with the rented shitbox I used to get here?”

“What do you care.  Follow the story.”  The key chain sat in the middle of the table.  A single key with a long cord and a little book charm on the end of it.

“Can I give you a lift?  I mean…”

“Don’t bother… I’m just going to stay a while.  Eat some pie.” The two sat in silence for a time which seemed to annoy the older man.  “The story doesn’t end here. There is always someone else who carries it on, expands it.  Follow the story.”

“And …”

“I’m making my own fucking choices as an adult and an old man so just fucking get out here, Chronicler.  The wind is coming.  The change of the strange is happening.  Now get out of here and do your job.”

The Chronicler thought a moment, looking at the man who would no longer meet his eyes.  He snatched the keys.  “Ok.”

“Good.  And be careful going into third.  It’s a little sticky.  You know how to drive a manual, right?”

“Yeah.  Kinda.”

“Just grind it till you find it.”

He looked down at the man he’d known since he’d been a lonely, confused child.  The weird uncle he knew he’d never see again, but also knew would just be upset at sentimentality.

“Yeah.   I’ll do just that.  Hope there is something in that book about how to replace a clutch.”

As he left he heard the man say, “There never is a true replacement.  It’s always a different thing.  There is only going on.  Be well.  Find the story.”

The Chronicler looked down at the keychain in his hand and looked up at the powder blue VW bus rusting in the parking lot.  He opened the door to burst out of the diner and into the heat and light.  “Adventure awaits, apparently.”  He said to himself. Donning his sunglasses and twirling the keys, he added a mocking, “Tally-ho! By Crom!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The truck lurched to life and Edwin was never so relieved to be hauling stolen goods.  “Feels different with the trailer.”

“Yep.  You can really feel the weight distribution when it turns.  It kinda pulls on you, the weight, but it feels right.  Makes the truck less twitchy.”

“Anything that helps keep the wheels down is good.”

The truck slid past the blue hippie van that was also making for the exit.  Guillermo was a much more determined driver, cowing the blue van into yielding.

“So… Still freaked Edwin?”

The big man shrugged.  “Just glad the weird part is over.  I mean, it’s like Loveless sees the future or some shit.  Spooky.”

“And again, we’re on the winning side of it.”

“Yeah, I guess.  Just glad I’ll be home when the bus comes.”

“I told you, man… Nothing to worry about.”  The truck pulled out onto the two-lane state road.  In the rear view, Edwin could see the diner and the blue bus struggling to get out of the parking lot.  As that scene disappeared once again behind a stand of trash trees, Guillermo added, “Stick with Loveless, man, believe in his plan and we will rob the world blind and get away every time.  Nobody fucks with Loveless.”

The Strange – Episode 18 – Game Plan